ONA - Every public school in Cabell County is now stocked with a "Stop the Bleed" kit designed to quickly abate blood loss during an emergency.

Cabell County Emergency Medical Services announced its donation of 27 kits - one for each of its elementary, middle and high schools - Wednesday afternoon during a news conference at Ona Elementary School.

Each kit contains eight individually vacuum-sealed packs containing quick-clot material - cloth with a chemical agent that controls blood loss - along with basic gauze wrap, scissors, a tourniquet and a marker to write the time applied.

The kits are designed to be readily available and, above all, user-friendly, said Marsha Knight, Cabell EMS education director. They are meant for staff and even students to use immediately in the time between the emergency and the arrival of emergency professionals.

Training is minimal by design: simply packing a deep wound with gauze or applying a tourniquet, as Knight demonstrated on a dummy's simulated slash and puncture wounds. Within a few minutes, even a handful of Ona students had successfully packed a wound.

"We can train them on basic maneuvers that they can apply until EMS can get there and possibly save someone's life," Knight said. "We just did it with some 7-year-olds, and they got it the first time."

Each kit costs $893, meaning Cabell County EMS spent nearly $25,000 to cover all 27 schools. That money was provided through grants and donations by BB&T Bank, the Region 2 Hospital Coalition, the Huntington Clinical Foundation and the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security.

"Stop The Bleed" is a nationwide awareness campaign launched by the White House in 2015 following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, to train and provide laypersons with the means to quickly respond to those in the midst of a disaster.

While mass shootings are the worst-case scenario, "Stop the Bleed" kits could just as easily be applied to any school accident with a substantial threat of blood loss.

"We hope we never have to use a 'Stop the Bleed' kit, but one thing we know is that this will save lives for our students, and being able to have one in every single school is abundantly important," said Ryan Saxe, Cabell County Superintendent of Schools.

The "Stop the Bleed" kits will be located prominently beside each school's existing automated external defibrillator (AED), a device that likewise is designed for a regular person to use in a cardiac emergency.

Cabell County EMS hosts "Stop the Bleed" trainings throughout the year. The next public event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 4 at the Tri-State Fire Academy at 4200 Ohio River Road in Huntington, just north of Guyandotte.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration can be made online at ccems.org.

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